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OCR03240 - *YES* Guild Wars 2 'The End of Madness'

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ReMixer Name: DusK
Real Name: Dustin Branscum
Email:
Website: http://www.itstartsatdusk.com
User ID: 24328
 
Game: Guild Wars 2
Arrangement Name: "The End of Madness"
Songs Arranged: "Battle on the Breachmaker", "The Nightmare Within"
Platform: PC, Mac
Composer: Lena Chappelle, Maclaine Diemer
Release Year: 2012
 
Source 1: https://soundcloud.com/arenanet/guild-wars-2-battle-on-the
Source 2: https://soundcloud.com/arenanet/the-nightmares-within
 
Comments: BOSS FIGHT!
 
The idea behind this one was to create a sort of modern-style boss music for Scarlet Briar (one of the big bads in GW2) utilizing her actual final boss music, but in a genre completely different from the source. Along the way, I ended up incorporating elements from "The Nightmare Within", which never actually appeared in-game but was used in the trailer for a content release.

This was a lot of fun to do, as Lena and Maclaine's music usually is (I'm up to 7 released covers of their music right now), because it's quite a bit more melodic than many of Soule's works for the series.
 
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this piece. Under-repped VGM fo lyfe! #WeMissYouMokram
 
Source 1: https://soundcloud.com/arenanet/guild-wars-2-battle-on-the
Source 2: https://soundcloud.com/arenanet/the-nightmares-within

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Wow, excellent source tune. I'm always worried when I see a submission with a 5+ minute source tune that I'm unfamiliar with, but I really enjoyed listening to the original. The source usage in your track is surprisingly straightforward and easy to pick up on, the string patterns in the original translate really nicely to rhyhtm guitars.

 

Based on your previous couple of submissions, I was expecting to hear more of the same problems present here in terms of mixing and overcompression, and to an extent they still are present here. However, I actually found the production here to be a little bit less unrelenting than I'm used to, so that was nice :-) Your leads were clearly audible and not nearly as buried in the mix, and although this might sound a little bit subjective, I didn't feel as much ear fatigue as I did on tracks like 'Technomagmar.' Curious to see how this sits with the other judges.

 

The synth pads from 2:12 - 2:33 were pretty lame, if I'm being candid. Very bland patch without much subtlety to them. The synth that doubles up with rhythm guitars for the rest of the song after that also feels unnecessarily dry and doesn't really contribute anything to the track.The rest of the synths aren't much more interesting, but aren't quite as up-front and dry so they don't really bother me as much. I don't mean to be a dick, but your synth work is not really adding anything to the track here, and I think that's an element of your music that could stand to improve across the board.

 

Your guitar chops are solid as always, and this time, I don't think the mixing sinks it dead in the water for me. But those synths... They're not a main focus of the mix so I have a hard time rejecting this track on those grounds (especially since I feel like this is on-par with some of your other recently-posted mixes) but I really think that part of your mixing toolbag is lacking and it would be really great to see you take your synthwork to the next level in future submissions!

 

YES (borderline)

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IMO, the arrangement seems fine (I'd need to time it out just for my sake), but this is overcompressed. Machine-gun drums at 1:26, 1:42 & 2:51/3:02 were just adding a bunch of noise. Agreed with Emu on the synth parts being vanilla; they're pretty bland and lifeless, he's right about needing to raise the game there. The only reason the synths don't drag this down to NO is because they're so obscured by the compression and clutter; if the synths were more exposed, they'd ALSO be dragging this down.

The interpretation and energy are great, Dustin, just give the mixing & levels another pass; the overall texture can still have power while parts also have room to breathe. I didn't feel the production matched other stuff we've posted recently, as far as this much compression being good enough, but I could be outvoted. Good luck though. If this doesn't pass, give the synths more personality and the parts some headroom, and this production would be on fully solid ground like the arrangement is.

NO (resubmit)

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Definitely a nice arrangement here.  I have to agree about those synth bits, they are generic and bland, but they aren't playing for that long.  The organ in the background is also a bit generic, but it's pretty buried.

 

This is right on the border of being overcompressed for me.  It's loud, and I agree the master limiter could come down a few db, but I'm generally finding everything audible and I don't hear any unwanted distortion.  I'm getting a reading of -9db RMS which is pushing it but acceptable for a track like this.  I'm finding things to be balanced and panned well.  The guitar performances really make the track.

 

Going forward, just ease off on the overall compression, and try out some new and more interesting synth patches to accent your guitar work, and your tracks will be even better.  I'm giving this one a

 

YES

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IMO, the arrangement seems fine (I'd need to time it out just for my sake), but this is overcompressed. Machine-gun drums at 1:26, 1:42 & 2:51/3:02 were just adding a bunch of noise. Agreed with Emu on the synth parts being vanilla; they're pretty bland and lifeless, he's right about needing to raise the game there. The only reason the synths don't drag this down to NO is because they're so obscured by the compression and clutter; if the synths were more exposed, they'd ALSO be dragging this down.

The interpretation and energy are great, Dustin, just give the mixing & levels another pass; the overall texture can still have power while parts also have room to breathe. I didn't feel the production matched other stuff we've posted recently, as far as this much compression being good enough, but I could be outvoted. Good luck though. If this doesn't pass, give the synths more personality and the parts some headroom, and this production would be on fully solid ground like the arrangement is.

NO (resubmit)

 

Larry hits the nail on the head. Interpretation and energy is in abundance, but this really has an over-compressed sound to it. I think this could use another pass on the mixing before we post this up.

 

NO, resub

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It's aggressively compressed, yes, and if Dustin wants to take a stab at dialing things back a notch, I'm all for it, but I can still make out the details just fine and it doesn't strike me as being so problematic that it's a dealbreaker. Since that's the main beef & the arrangement/energy both check out just fine, I'm going with a

 

YES

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Those synths are vanilla, but I can hear a retro appeal for the arp at least. The rearrange is well done. Great punk metal energy and clean performances. Mix is off tho, leads are too hot and over-compression is happening. Production knocks it

 

NO (borderline)

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I think I've softened a bit on overcompression the past year or two. Maybe overcompression won the loudness war and now I'm just used to it, lol. I can hear the degradation in quality, and yes, I WANT it to be less compressed, but the arrangement is great. Like Dave said, I can still make out everything in this easily, so I don't really see anything preventing a pass. Probably good to ask him if he's willing to make the change though.

 

YES

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Definitely agree with the others that the over compression is a bit of an issue. Overall I feel it's pretty borderline in terms of the degree and whether it puts the mix below the bar. I do think, however, that the synth issue nudges it just to the point where I'd like to see it revised. I think the adjustments will make the mix that much better, and I'm excited to hear it on the front page then!

No (resubmit)

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GAMEBREAKER!!!!!!!!

i'm just gonna take my fat ass and cannonball right into your perfectly well attended pool party here and decide this song's fate.

it's good. it's very good, even. excellent source, first of all, but what is being done with it is just really awesome. guitar playing is on point, the arrangement stays fresh and does a bunch of different stuff. great musicianship.

the compression. yeah, wtf but that's kinda the sound. i'm not sure that really bothers me. is it fundamentally overcompressed? yeah probably. could i go ahead and toss a resub on this or dress it up wit a borderline? sure. but i won't because i'm a simplifier like that.

YES

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GAMEBREAKER!!!!!!!!

i'm just gonna take my fat ass and cannonball right into your perfectly well attended pool party here and decide this song's fate.

 

 

Not so fast, son!  I gots to have my say.

 

Agreed that arrangement sounds solid and performances are good.  The only real question is whether or not the levels/overcompression is a dealbreaker.  For me personally, I do hear some audio squashing in places and there is simply too much noise going on in the most intense sections that hurt this.  HOWEVER, like Dave mentioned, despite this there is still a reasonable amount of clarity and distinction between the various parts.

 

I don't know if I'd want to listen to this on headphones too long personally due to ear fatigue, but I think it just squeaks by on the production front.

 

YES

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Not so fast, son!  I gots to have my say.

 

why do you think i put an asterisk???

that asterisk was your bat signal  ;)

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I feel this mix showcases some of challenges Dustin has been facing for some time when it comes to mastering. I feel this is a bit of an improvement over some previous mixes, but there are still some mixing issues. Juggling that many guitar tracks is certainly tough, and I feel that adding as many as there are here can really crowd the sound spectrum and it becomes difficult to give everything its own space.

 

That said, I feel most of this is audible, there is no muddiness in the mix, and it gets straight to the point arrangement wise. My main crits are:

  • the synth is awfully generic, I would've enjoyed something a bit more dynamic/evolving. It was also lost a little in the mix.
  • the track would benefit from more dynamics, as it is mastered pretty damn loud, but I'm not hearing in concerning distortion.
  • the machine gun drumming portion felt a bit off to me in contrast to the guitars, but the section did not last very long.

I would love to see Dustin ease off on the mastering a little in future tracks so there is more room to breathe. But as far as my crits go, I don't think there is enough here to no the track.

 

YES

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